Book Promotes New Holistic Ecology
Revealing Hidden Depths of Environmental Activism
AUSTIN, Texas --“We’ve got to stop calling our planet ‘Mother’ Earth,” says internationally known speaker and social activist Eileen “ike” West.
“We call her Mother Earth, and then feel like we can hand off our dirty laundry, raid her refrigerator and eventually use her up. We need to stop thinking of the Earth as a mother who will clean up after us and take care of us no matter what. Like adolescents who reach adulthood, we need to start taking responsibility for ourselves.”
“Most of the world's people have a spiritual system that is earth-based. As a result, they have a spiritual relationship to everything around them, a reverence for all life on earth,” says West. “To them, everything in nature including the earth herself has consciousness. That’s not to say the rocks, trees or clouds perceive the same way humans do. But most definitely all around us are sensitive beings worthy of respect.”
In West’s novel Away From Hannah’s Castle, Hannah Hops Along struggles with her life as a reclusive widow living on the edge of the Badlands. A harrowing snake attack throws Hannah headlong into the arms of an untimely suitor named JB Iverson. Hannah’s life-threatening ordeal also strengthens the psychic bond she shares with the planet Earth, portrayed as a girl on the verge of becoming a woman.
“It’s vitally important that more of us share a bond with the Earth that is like Hannah’s, the main character in the novel,” says West. “Our estrangement from the planet allows us to be disrespectful and abusive toward the natural world. The leaders of the environmental movement may have a scientific understanding of how our actions affect the planet, but it’s only through a connection to the Earth on a deep, spiritual level that people will become truly motivated to care for the environment.”
West teaches part-time at the University of Texas, Austin. She also offers spiritual expansion workshops in the U.S. and abroad. Five months of every year, West travels throughout Europe, speaking and leading seminars in Belgium, Holland, England, France, Italy, Switzerland and Greece. A Dutch version of Away From Hannah’s Castle was released in September 2006; and the book is currently being translated into both Greek and Italian.
“To me, Ike West is a seer. She has a firm grasp of mysticism and presents a magical worldview in which things unfold naturally, and complex ideas become vividly clear. With loving patience, Ike leads people wishing to move from a life that is unaware and somnolent to a truly sacred space,” writes Susan Smit in Wise Women, a collection of interviews with influential women of the world, which features Ike West, Isabelle Allende, Jane Goodall, Xaviera Hollander, Isabella Rosselline, Queen Noor of Jordan, and others.
“I want readers to be entertained, but I also want them to see planet Earth in a whole new light.” West believes her book Away From Hannah’s Castle gives readers a rare glimpse at the consciousness of the planet, something few people would even consider possible. Yet, according to West, ancient cultures have kept this sacred link to the planet across generations. “In Western society we pray to the sky, but we have deep-seated bonds to the spirit of the Earth as well,” says West.
“My students love the book because it highlights what we do in the seminars. I’ve found that people who meditate or are creative artists have no problems flowing with the narrative adventure. But other people may discover parts of the book are rather challenging because they must slow down a bit while their level of awareness changes.”
Over the years, West’s been considered a teacher, writer, and spiritual guide. Although every label fits to an extent, she finds herself most comfortable when called an eco-feminist. “I do support the needs and rights of women. Yet above all else, I champion the most vital female essence in our midst—the earth herself.”